There was a great outpouring of suggestions, from local business owners and teachers to activists and politicians.
Unfortunately, there were too many to include everyone nominated. Below you’ll find the top five most-nominated for recognition as People of the Year and some words about what makes them such an important part of the community.
Thanks to everyone who participated and all the people who work to make Bethel what it is.
Alice is a woman with a strong commitment to making Bethel a great place to live. From her days as First Selectman to her work behind the curtains of the Bethel Democrats, she is tireless in supporting good government in our town. Even more importantly, as a small business owner, Alice brings a wonderful level of opportunity and sophistication to our downtown. When she elected to move Byrd's Books to the midst of town, she set a standard that encourages other businesses to join her. Through her spotlight on CT authors and illustrators, especially local people, she has started to make Bethel a destination for artists and customers, bringing more folks to our downtown. Through everything she accomplishes, Alice Hutchinson helps move all of us forward, to the betterment of our town.
Alice just opened an independent bookstore in town, "Byrd's Bookstore" on Greenwood Ave. It takes lots of determination and risk-taking to open an independent bookstore in this economy. Its presence enhances the quality of life and small town wonder of Bethel, a great place to be.
Alice has created a warm little heart for Bethel through Byrd's Books, and besides running a vibrant and beautiful independent bookstore — she uses this spot to address the community's needs.
This year, Hutchinson moved her independent bookstore, Byrd’s Books, to a storefront location in the heart of Bethel’s downtown. In addition to adding an appealing shop that attracts both locals and visitors to Greenwood Ave., Hutchinson has benefited Bethel residents by bringing a plethora of noted authors to town and participating in national programs such as Small Business Saturday and Where’s Waldo? She also is an active supporter of local ventures — participating, for example, in the Thursday markets on the Municipal Center lawn.
She reflects a positive commitment to our community. Investing her time and money into a more visible venue to promote a love of reading. Story hours, author talks, are just a few examples of promoting fellowship.
Bobbi Jo Beers
Her work with the Chamber this year has been just the best. She has brought the people of this community together for the good of the town. I can't think of a better nominee.
Bobbi Jo puts a great deal more time into her position running the Chamber of Commerce than she is paid for. She has made a noticeable difference in the chamber's contribution to our community and turned the organization around in a very short amount of time!
She's planned and implemented fun, successful town events, encouraging public participation. Her accepting, professional attitude has helped Bethel grow with new businesses while working to connect existing ones. She has made Bethel a better place in 2013.
Mary and Robert Korin
For all of their volunteer efforts in helping bring our communities together to help support the Dorthy Day House, Santa's Workshop which provided toys to 1,100 underprivileged children this year.
I nominated Mary Korin for Bethel's 2013 People of the Year because the woman has a heart of gold. She will do anything and everything for anyone in need. I saw this woman bust her butt for the Dorthy Day Santa's Workshop to make it work Saturday, Dec. 21 and help over 1,100 kids Christmas's special with presents. She worked late, woke up early morning and never complained once! Her main concern was the children and put them before her. The Santa's Workshop was a huge success and that is why I feel she should be considered.
Liz is a teacher at Johnson School. She gives her time and heart to her students and their families. Since 12/14 she has become involved with the Ben's Bells organization. She brought their "kind school" program to Johnson School this year and is instrumental in making the children of Bethel better people.
She is an incredible teacher and she is running Ben's Bells at Johnson this year. Every year she has her class work on an event that is linked to that year.
Linda and Mark Anderson
Linda and Mark are simply amazing people who have been able to take their own heartbreak and touch so many people and families in a truly positive way. They have brought smiles and comfort to many in a way no one else could possibly do. Day after day and year after year Linda and Mark continue to help others heal because they had the honor of being Scotty's parents. I am in awe of them and how they have taken such heartbreak and turned it to joy for others. I nominate Linda and Mark for their selfless generosity to others and for being such inspirations to the people of Bethel and the countless who "have been changed for good.”
Other 2013 Nominees
Historical Society President Pat Rist
Volunteer Richard Merritt
Veteran and business owner Daniel Gaita
Molten Java owner Wendy Cahill
HamletHub Editor Christie Macomber
Bethel Bulletin Editor Sharon Palmer
Coach Greg Correard
PTO President and local volunteer Shani Burke Specht
Town Clerk Lisa Bergh
Local activist and “watch-dog” Billy Michael
Bethel NJROTC Commander Mark Dwinells